The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, on Tuesday, faulted the position of the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, on the ban of open grazing by governors from the Southern part of the country.
Shehu had in a statement on Monday described the resolutions of the 17 southern governors at their May 11 meeting in Asaba, Delta, as illegal.
But in a statement issued on Tuesday by his Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties and Strategy, Dr. Doyin Odebowale, the governor insisted that the presidential aide was not speaking for President Muhammadu Buhari on the ban on open grazing.
He said: “Anyone who has been following the utterances of this man, as well as his fellow travellers on the self-deluding, mendacious but potentially dangerous itinerary to anarchy, cannot but conclude that he works assiduously for extraneous interests whose game plan stands at variance with the expectations of genuine lovers of peaceful coexistence among all the people whose ethnic extractions are indigenous to Nigeria.
“Mr. Garba Shehu must disclose, this day, the real motive(s) of those he serves, definitely not the President. He cannot continue to hide under some opaque, omnibus, and dubious directives to create confusion in the polity.
“The easy recourse to mendacious uppity in pushing a barely disguised pernicious agendum is well understood.
“The declaration that the recommendations of the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, a mere political appointee like Garba Shehu, are now the ‘lasting solutions’ which eluded all the elected representatives of the people of the Southern part of the country, exposes this man as a pitiable messenger who does not seem to understand the limits of his relevance and charge.
“Mr. Garba Shehu contends that ‘their announcement is of questionable legality,’ referring to the 17 Governors of the Southern States, but the decision of certain elements to take the ancestral lands of other people to settle their kinsmen, including the ‘gun-wielding killer herdsmen’ and their families, and provide ‘veterinary clinics, water points for animals, and facilities for herders and their families including schooling through these rehabilitated reserves for which the Federal Government is making far-reaching and practical changes allowing for different communities to co-exist side-by-side’ does not appear to him as a comprehensive plan for land grabbing, a precursor to internal colonialism.
“He wants to ‘revive forest reserves’ but seems particularly uninterested in the current position of the same law, that he and his cohorts often misinterpret to serve parochialism and greed.
“Governors no longer have powers over the lands in their territories. They must take instructions from appointees of the Federal Government on such matters.
“It is superfluous, and that is being charitable, for anyone to remind us of the constitutional right of bona fide citizens to enjoy rights and freedoms within every one of our 36 States (and FCT) -regardless of their state of birth and residence.”